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In short, I'm perfectly content,
Let me but live on this side Trent;
Nor cross the Channel twice a year,
To spend six months with statesmen here.
I must by all means come to town,
'Tis for the service of the crown.
"Lewis, the Dean will be of use,
Send for him up, take no excuse."
The toil, the danger of the seas;
Great ministers ne'er think of these ;
Or let it cost five hundred pound,
No matter where the money 's found.
It is but so much more in debt,
And that they ne'er consider'd yet.
“ Good Mr. Dean, go change your gown,
Let my lord know you 're come to town."
I hurry me in haste away,
Not thinking it is levee-day;
And find his honor in a pound,
Hemm'd by a triple circle round,
Chequer'd with ribbons blue and green .
How should I thrust myself between ?
Some wag observes me thus perplext,
And smiling whispers to the next,
“I thought the Dean had been too proud,
To justle here among a crowd."
Another, in a surly fit,
Tells me I have more zeal than wit,
“ So eager to express your love,
You ne'er consider whom you shove,
But rudely press before a duke."
I own, I'm pleas'd with this rebuke,
And take it kindly meant to show
What I desire the world should know.
I get a whisper, and withdraw:
When twenty fools I never saw
Come with petitions fairly pennd,
Desiring I would stand their friend.
This, humbly Offers me his case-
That, begs my int'rest for a place
A hundred other men's affairs,
Like bees, are humming in my ears.
• To-morrow my appeal comes on,
Without your help the cause is gone."-
The duke expects my lord and you,
About some great affair, at two-
“ Put my lord Bolingbroke in mind,
To get my warrant quickly sign'd.
Consider 'tis my first request."
Be satisfied, I'll do my best :-
Then presently he falls to tease,
“ You may for certain, if you please ;
I doubt not, if his lordship knew-
And, Mr. Dean, one word from you—".
"Tis (let me see) three years and more,
(October next it will be four,)
Since Harley bid me first attend,
And chose me for an humble friend;
Would take me in his coach to chat,
And question me of this and that;
As, " What's o'clock ?" And, “How's the wind ?"
“ Who's chariot's that we left behind ?"
Or gravely try to read the lines
Writ underneath the country signs;
Or, “ Have you nothing new to-day
From Pope, from Parnell, or from Gay?"
Such tattle often entertains
My lord and me as far as Staines,
As once a week we travel down
To Windsor, and again to town,
Where all that passes, inter nos,
Might be proclaim'd at Charing-Cross.
Yet some I know with envy swell,
Because they see me us'd so well :
“How think you of our friend the Dean?
I wonder what some people mean;
My lord and he are grown so great,
Always together, tête-à-tête.
What, they admire him for his jokes-
See but the fortune of some folks!"
There flies about a strange report
Of some express arriv'd at court;
I'm stopt by all the fools I meet,
And catechis'd in every street.
“You, Mr. Dean, frequent the great ;
Inform us, will the emp'ror treat?
Or do the prints and papers lie ?"
Faith, Sir, you know as much as I.
“Ah, doctor, how you love to jest !
"Tis now no secret”-I protest
'Tis one to me—"Then tell us, pray,
When are the troops to have their pay ?"
And, though I solemnly declare
I know no more than my lord-mayor,
They stand amaz’d, and think me grown
The closest mortal ever known.
Thus in a sea of folly toss'd,
My choicest hours of life are lost;
Yet always wishing to retreat,
Oh, could I see my country-seat!
There, leaning near a gentle brook,
Sleep, or peruse some ancient book,
And there in sweet oblivion drown
Those cares that haunt the court and town.
O charming noons! and nights divine !
Or when I sup, or when I dine,
My friends above, my folks below,
Chatting and laughing all-a-row,
The beans and bacon set before 'em,
The grace-cup serv'd with all decorum:
Each willing to be pleas'd, and please,
And ev'n the very dogs at ease!
Here no man prates of idle things,
How this or that Italian sings,
A neighbor's madness, or his spouse's,
Or what's in either of the houses :
But something much more our concern,
And quite a scandal not to learn :
Which is the happier, or the wiser,
A man of merit, or a miser ?
Whether we ought to choose our friends,
For their own worth, or our own ends ?
What good, or better, we may call,
And what, the very best of all ?
Our friend Dan Prior told (you know) A tale extremely à propos : Name a town life, and in a trice He had a story of two mice. Once on a time (so runs the fable) A country mouse, right hospitable, Receiv'd a town mouse at his board, Just as a farmer might a lord. A frugal mouse upon the whole, Yet lov'd his friend, and had a soul, Knew what was handsome, and would do't On just occasion, coûte qui coûte. He brought him bacon (nothing lean); Pudding, that might have pleas'd a dean; Cheese, such as men in Suffolk make, But wish'd it Stilton for his sake;
EPISTLE TO ROBERT EARL OF OXFORD AND EARL
Sent to the Earl of Oxford, with Dr. Parnell's Poems
published by our Author, after the said Earl's inprisonment in the Tower, and Retreat into the Country, in the Year 1721.
Yet, to his guest though no way sparing,
He eat himself the rind and paring.
Our courtier scarce could touch a bit,
But show'd his breeding and his wit;
He did his best to seem to eat,
And cried, “I vow you're mighty neat.
But Lord, my friend, this savage scene!
For God's sake, come, and live with men;
Consider, mice, like men, must die,
Both small and great, both you and I:
Then spend your life in joy and sport;
(This doctrine, friend, I learnt at court.")
The veriest hermit in the nation
May yield, God knows, to strong temptation.
Away they come, through thick and thin,
To a tall house near Lincoln's-inn:
("Twas on the night of a debate,
When all their lordships had sat late.)
Behold the place, where if a poet
Shind in description, he might show it;
Tell how the moonbeam trembling falls,
And tips with silver all the walls;
Palladian walls, Venetian doors,
Grotesco roofs, and stucco floors :
But let it (in a word) be said,
The Moon was up, and men a-bed,
The napkins white, the carpet red:
The guests withdrawn had left the treat,
And down the mice sate, tête-à-têle.
Our courtier walks from dish to dish,
Tastes for his friend of fowl and fish;
Tells all their names, lays down the law,
" Que ca est bon! Ah goûtez ca !
That jelly's rich, this malmsey healing,
Pray dip your whiskers and your tail in."
Was ever such a happy swain!
He stuffs and swills, and stuffs again.
“I'm quite asham'd-'tis mighty rude
To eat so much--but all's so good.
I have a thousand thanks to give-
My lord alone knows how to live."
No sooner said, but from the hall
Rush chaplain, butler, dogs, and all :
“A rat! a rat! clap to the door!"-
The cat comes bouncing on the floor.
O for the heart of Homer's mice,
Or gods to save them in a trice!
(It was by Providence they think,
For your damn'd stucco has no chink.)
“ An't please your honor," quoth the peasant,
“This same dessert is not so pleasant :
Give me again my hollow tree,
A crust of bread, and liberty!"
Such were the notes thy once-lov'd poet supc.
Till Death untimely stopp'd his tuneful tongue
Oh just beheld, and lost! admir'd, and mount
With softest manners, gentlest arts adorn'd!
Blest in each science, blest in every strain!
Dear to the Muse! to Harley dear-in vain!
For him, thou oft hast bid the world attend,
Fond to forget the statesman in the friend ;
For Swift and him, despis'd the farce of state,
The sober follies of the wise and great;
Dextrous the craving, fawning crowd to quit,
And pleas'd to 'scape from flattery to wit.
Absent or dead, still let a friend be dear,
|(A sigh the absent claims, the dead a tear,)
| Recall those nights that clos'd thy toilsome a
Still hear thy Parnell in his living lays,
Who, careless now of interest, fame, or fate
Perhaps forgets that Oxford e'er was great :
Or, deeming meanest what we greatest call
Beholds thee glorious only in thy fall.
And sure, if aught below the seats divine
Can touch immortals, 'tis a soul like thine:
A soul supreme, in each hard instance tried,
Above all pain, and passion, and all pride,
The rage of power, the blast of public breath
The lust of lucre, and the dread of Death.
In vain to deserts thy retreat is made;
The Muse attends thee to thy silent shade:
'Tis hers, the brave man's latest steps to trace,
Re-judge his acts, and dignify disgrace.
When interest calls off all her sneaking train,
And all th'oblig'd desert, and all the vain ;
She waits, or to the scaffold, or the cell,
When the last lingering friend has bid farewell.
Ev'n now she shades thy evening-walk with bays,
(No hireling she, no prostitute lo praise);
Ev'n now, observant of the parting ray,
Eyes the calm sun-set of thy various day,
Through Fortune's cloud one truly great can see,
Nor fears to tell, that Mortimer is he.
JONATHAN Swift, a person who has carried one brought him under the heavy imputation, from species of poetry, that of humorous satire, to a de- which he was never able entirely to free himself, gree never before attained, was, by his parentage, of being a scoffer against revealed religion. of English descent, but probably born in Ireland. His prospects of advancement in the political It is known that his father, also called Jonathan, career were abortive, till 1710, when the Tories having married a Leicestershire lady, died at an came into power. His connexion with this party early age, leaving a daughter, and a posthumous son. began in an acquaintance with Harley, afterwards His widow, being left in narrow circumstances, Earl of Oxford, who introduced him to secretary was invited by her husband's brother, Godwin, St. John, afterwards Lord Boling broke; and, he who resided in Dublin, to his house ; and there, it engaged the confidence of these leaders to such a is supposed, Jonathan was born, on November 30th, degree, that he was admitted to their most secret 1667. After passing some time at a school in Kil- consultations. In all his transactions with them, ha kenny, he was removed to Trinity College, Dublin, was most scrupulously attentive to preserve every in bis 15th year; in which university he spent seven appearance of being on an equality, and to repress years, and then obtained with difficulty the degree every thing that lookec like slight or neglect on of bachelor of arts, conferred speciali gratia. The their parts; and there probably is not another excircumstance affords sufficient proof of the misap- ample of a man of letters who has held his head so plication of his talents to mathematical pursuils; high in his association with men in power. This but he is said to have been at this period engaged was undoubtedly owing to that constitutional pride eight hours a day in more congenial studies and unsubmitting nature which governed all his
So profuse are the materials for the life of Swift, actions. that it has become almost a vain attempt to give, in A bishopric in England was the object at which a moderate compass, the events by which he was he aimed, and a vacancy on the bench occurring, distinguished from ordinary mortals; and it will he was recommended by his friends in the ministry therefore be chiefly in his character of a poetical to the Queen ; but suspicions of his faith, and other composer that we shall now consider him. He was prejudices, being raised against him, he was passed early domesticated with the celebrated statesman, over; and the highest preferment which his patrons Sir William Temple, who now lived in retirement could venture to bestow upon him was the deanery at Moor Park; but having made choice of the of St. Patrick's, in Dublin ; to which he was pre. church as his future destination, on parting in sented in 1713, and in which he continued for life. some disagreement from Temple, he went to Ire- The death of the Queen put an end to all contests land, with very moderate expectations, and took among the Tory ministers; and the change termiorders. A reconciliation with his patron brought nated Swift's prospects, and condemned him to an him back to Moor Park, where he passed his time unwilling residence in a country which he always in harmony till the death of Sir William, who left disliked. On his return to Dublin, his temper was him a legacy and his papers. He then accepted severely tried by the triumph of the Whigs, who an invitation from the earl of Berkeley, one of the treated him with great indignity ; but in length of Lords Justices of Ireland, to accompany him time, by a proper exercise of his clerical office, by thither as chaplain and private secretary; and he reforms introduced into the chapter of St. Patrick's, continued in the family as long as his lordship re- and by his bold and able exposures of the abuses mained in that kingdom. Here Swift began to practised in the government of Ireland, he rose to distinguish himself by an incomparable talent of the title of King of the Mob in that capital. writing humorous verses in the true familiar style, His conduct with respect to the female sex was several specimens of which he produced for the not less unaccountable than singular, and certainly amusement of the house. After Lord Berkeley's does no honor to his memory. Early in life he return to England, Swift went to reside at his attached himself to his celebrated Stella, whose real living at Laracor, in the diocese of Meath ; and name was Johnson, the daughter of Sir William here it was that ambition began to take possession Temple's steward. Soon after his seltlement at of his mind. He thought it proper to increase his Laracor, he invited her to Ireland. She came, acconsequence by taking the degree of doctor of companied by a Mrs. Dingley, and resided near divinity in an English university; and, for the pur. the parsonage when he was at home, and in it when pose of forming connexions, he paid annual visits he was absent; nor were they ever known to lodge to that country. In 1701, he first engaged as a in the same house, or to see each other without a political writer; and, in 1704, he published, though witness. In 1716, he was privately married to her, anonymously, his celebrated “Tale of a Tub," but the parties were brought no nearer than before which, while it placed him high as a writer, dis- and the act was attended with no acknowledgment tinguished by wit and humor of a peculiar cast, that could gratify the feelings of a woman who
had so long devoted herself to him. About the humorous and sarcastic was his habitual taste, year 1712, he became acquainted, in London, with which he frequently indulged beyond the bounds of Miss Esther Vanhomrigh, a young lady of fortune, decorum ; a circumstance which renders the task with a taste for literature, which Swift was fond of of selection from his works somewhat perplexine. cultivating. To her he wrote the longest and most In wit, both in verse and prose, he stands foremost finished of his poems, entitled Cadenus and in grave irony, maintained with the most plausible Vanessa ; and her attachment acquired so much air of serious simplicity, and supported by rear strength, that she made him the offer of her hand. minuteness of detail. His “Gulliver's Travels Even after his marriage to Stella, Swift kept are a remarkable exemplification of his powers a Miss Vanhomrigh in ignorance of this connexion; this kind, which have rendered the work woode:but a report of it having at length reached her, she fully amusing, even to childish readers, whilst the took the step of writing a note to Stella, requesting keen satire with which it abounds may gratify Ebe to know if the marriage were real. Stella assured most splenetic misanthropist. In general, however. her of the affirmative in her answer, which she his style in prose, though held up as a model of inclosed to Swift, and went into the country without clearness, purity, and simplicity, has only the mer seeing him. Swift went immediately to the house of expressing the author's meaning with perfees of Miss Vanhomrigh, threw Stella's letter on the precision. table, and departed, without speaking a word. She Late in life, Swift fell under the fate which be never recovered the shock, and died in 1723. dreaded : the faculties of his mind decared before Stella, with her health entirely ruined, languished those of his body, and he gradually seitled into abon till 1728, when she expired. Such was the fate solute idiocy. A total silence for some months which he prepared for both.
preceded his decease, which took place in October, Of the poems of Swift, some of the most striking 1744, when he was in his 78th year. He was izwere composed in mature life, after his attainment terred in St. Patrick's cathedral, under e monuof his deanery of St. Patrick; and it will be ad- ment, for which he wrote a Latin epitaph, in which mitted that no one ever gave a more perfect ex- one clause most energetically displays the state of ample of the easy familiarity attainable in the his feelings :—“Ubi sæva indignatio ulienus our English language. His readiness in rhyme is lacerare nequit.” He bequeathed the greatest part truly astonishing; the most uncommon associations of his property to an hospital for lunaties and of sounds coming to him as it were spontaneously, idiots, in words seemingly the best adapted to the occasion. That he was capable of high polish and elegance,
To show, by one satiric touch,
No nation wanted it so much. some of his works sufficiently prove; but the
WRITTEN AT WINDSOR, 1713.
The shepherds and the nymphs were seen
Pleading before the Cyprian queen.
The counsel for the fair began,
Accusing the false creature man.
The brief with weighty crimes was charg'd,
On which the pleader much enlarg'd;
That Cupid now has lost his art,
Or blunts the point of every dart ;-
His altar now no longer smokes,
His mother's aid no youth invokes :
This tempts freethinkers to refine,
And bring in doubt their powers divine;
Now love is dwindled to intrigue,
And marriage grown a money-league.
Which crimes aforesaid (with her leave)
Were (as he humbly did conceive)
Against our sovereign lady's peace,
Against the statute in that case,
Against her dignity and crown:
Then pray'd an answer, and sat down.
The nymphs with scorn beheld their foes:
When the defendant's counsel rose,
And, what no lawyer ever lack'd,
With impudence own'd all the fact;
But, what the gentlest heart would vex
Laid all the fault on t'other ser.
That modern love is no such thing
As what those ancient poets sing;
A fire celestial, chaste, refind,
Conceiv'd and kindled in the mind;
Which, having found an equal flame,
Unites, and both become the same,
In different breasts together burn,
Together both to ashes turn.
But women now feel no such fire,
And only know the gross desire.
Their passions move in lower spheres,
Where'er caprice or folly steers.
A dog, a parrot, or an ape,
Or some worse brule in human shape,
Engross the fancies of the fair,
The few soft moments they can spare,
From visits to receive and pay ;
From scandal, politics, and play;
From fans, and flounces, and brocades,
From equipage and park-parades,
From all the thousand female toys,
From every trifle that employs
The out or inside of their heads,
Between their toilets and their beds.
In a dull stream, which moving slow,
You hardly see the current flow;
If a small breeze obstruct the course,
It whirls about, for want of force,
And in its narrow circle gathers
Nothing but chaff, and straws, and feathers.
The current of a female mind
Stops thus, and turns with every wind;
Thus whirling round together draws
Fools, fops, and rakes, for chaff and straws.
Hence we conclude, no women's hearts
Are won by virtue, wit, and parts :
Nor are the men of sense to blame,
For breasts incapable of flame;
The fault must on the nymphs be plac'd,
Grown so corrupted in their taste.
The pleader, having spoke his best,
Had witness ready to attest,
Who fairly could on oath depose,
When questions on the fact arose,
That every article was true;
Nor further these deponents knew :-
Therefore he humbly would insist,
The bill might be with costs dismiss'd.
The cause appear'd of so much weight,
That Venus, from her judgment-seat,
Desir'd them not to talk so loud,
Else she must interpose a cloud :
For, if the heavenly folk should know
These pleadings in the courts below,
That mortals here disdain to love,
She ne'er could show her face above;
For gods, their betters, are too wise
['o value that which men despise.
" And then," said she, “my son and I
Must stroll in air, 'twixt land and sky';
Or else, shut out from heaven and earth,
Fly to the sea, my place of birth ;
There live, with daggled mermaids pent,
And keep on fish perpetual Lent."
But, since the case appear'd so nice,
She thought it best to take advice.
The Muses, by their king's permission,
Though foes to love, attend the session,
And on the right hand took their places
In order ; on the left, the Graces :
To whom she might her doubts propose
On all emergencies that rose.
The Muses oft were seen to frown;
The Graces half-asham'd look down ;
And 'ıwas observ'd there were but few
Of either sex among the crew,
Whom she or her assessors knew.
The goddess soon began to see,
Things were not ripe for a decree :
And said she must consult her books,
The lovers' Fletas, Bractons, Cokes.
First to a dapper clerk she beckon'd,
To turn to Ovid, book the second ;
She then referr'd them to a place
In Virgil (vide Dido's case :)
As for Tibullus's reports,
They never pass'd for law in courts :
For Cowley's briefs, and pleas of Waller,
Still their authority was smaller.
There was on both sides much to say:
She'd hear the cause another day.
And so she did ; and then a third
She heard it—there, she kept her word:
But, with rejoinders or replies,
Long bills, and answers stuff'd with lies,
Demur, imparlance, and essoign,
The parties ne'er could issue join :
For sixteen years the cause was spun,
And then stood where it first begun.
Now, gentle Clio, sing or say,
What Venus meant by this delay.
The goddess, much perplex'd in mind
To see her empire thus declin'd,
When first this grand debate arose,
Above her wisdom to compose,
Conceiv'd a project in her head
To work her ends; which, if it sped,
Would show the merits of the cause
Far better than consulting laws.
In a glad hour Lucina's aid
Produc'd on Earth a wondrous maid,
On whom the queen of love was bent
To try a new experiment.
She threw her law-books on the shelf,
And thus debated with herself.
"Since men allege, they ne'er can find
Those beauties in a female mind,
Which raise a flame that will endure
For ever uncorrupt and pure ;
If 'tis with reason they complain,
This infant shall restore my reign.
I'll search where every virtue dwells,
From courts inclusive down to cells :
What preachers talk, or sages write ;
These I will gather and unite,
And represent them to mankind
Collected in that infant's mind."
This said, she plucks in heaven's high bowers
A sprig of amaranthine flowers,
In nectar thrice infuses bays,
Three times refin'd in Titan's rays;
Then calls the Graces to her aid,
And sprinkles thrice the new-born maid :
From whence the tender skin assumes
A sweetness above all perfumes :
From whence a cleanliness remains
Incapable of outward stains :
From whence that decency of mind,
So lovely in the female kind,
Where not one careless thought intrudes,
Less modest than the speech of prudes;
Where never blush was call'd in aid,
That spurious virtue in a maid,
A virtue but at second-hand;
They blush because they understand.
The Graces next would act their part,
And show'd but little of their art;
Their work was half already done,
The child with native beauty shone ;
The outward form no help requir'd :
Each, breathing on her thrice, inspir'd
That gentle, soft, engaging air,
Which in old times adorn'd the fair:
And said, “Vanessa be the name
By which thou shalt be known to fame;
Vanessa, by the gods enrollid:
Her name on Earth shall not be told."